Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Social Effects of Having Loved Ones in Prison

Life has its highs and lows. There are things that chance into our lives that we never bargained for from the outset. A typical example could be having a flat tire while running to make it to a job interview on time. But, if for any reason, one finds his freedom confined within the walls of a prison, the effects are really devastating. 

It is really sad that one’s freedom can be taken away from him for one or more reasons. Honestly, I am not trying to stand for or against the legal system that upholds jail sentences. But, I am trying to x-ray the effects of such a sentence on a person with regard to his family members and friends. I think that is where it really hurts. 
Now, there are many prisoners who probably left behind their wives and kids. Even if the wife of a prisoner has the inner strength to stay without the man, what about the raising of their kids? Raising children is never meant for a single parent. The challenges involved are enormous. Sometimes, the kids end up in foster homes. Yes, it is true that these kids can receive proper nurturing in such environments, but that of his parents can never be equaled by any other. 
Statistics reveal that most children who end up gangsters and prostitutes are traced to dysfunctional homes. There is the role of a parent, even though he may not be morally perfect, that the child needs. The fact that dad is around has a way of shaping the life of kids. A recent documentary by CNN titled; “American Al-Qaida”, tells the story of how a young American lad joined the Al-Qaida network after mom and dad separated. The picture is no different when mom or dad is confined within prison walls. They are separated, and the frustration gets deeper and lethal.

In addition, friends of prisoners suffer a lot, too. In a friendship, everyone brings something to the table. Friendship is like parts of our body. Each differs from the other, but in all, they are best of friends with a single purpose. Once a finger is bad it could affect even the head. So, when someone is imprisoned, his friends suffer. They are denied the warmth and fellowship of a noble friend. For some prisoners who had pen-friends before the jail sentence, imagine the endless letters going out without a single reply coming in. Worse still, if the prisoner was addicted to social sites, such as Facebook, it will hit his friends hard on the network as they keep sending messages and postings without any replies or “likes.” 
Such is what people go through just for one man in jail. He is not the only one bearing the burden. In fact, some families bear more than the prisoner does. It is really a breaking time for friends and family members who have someone spending a while behind bars. And the heater turns on during birthdays of their loved ones in prison. Friends and relations would love to gather and celebrate with him. But such can only exist in the realm of wishful thinking. Being in prison is a hard knock on both sides. But courage and faith surely conquer.

By Renee Patterson

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My Life is NOT Depressing

I finally saw my boo yesterday. It had been almost two months. I had some medical problems that had me on crutches. But, the crutches were by choice, not subscribed by a doctor. Because of that, I was unable to take the crutches into the prison. So, I had to wait until I was better to visit.

I guess that's why, for the first time, I cried when it was time to leave. I didn't even cry the first time I visited. But, this time was different. I missed him so much. I had never gone over three weeks without visiting him. It had been two whole months.

After our ritualistic game of scrabble, (I beat, as usual), we just sat for awhile. We enjoyed just holding hands and the stillness. Yes, stillness. There's a stillness that is creating by most prison couples in love at some point in a visit. It comes at a moment when you realize that the time to leave is within the hour.

That moment of stillness is created by couples who have a very high intimacy level between them. It gives them the power of shutting out the rest of the world. At that moment, you are the only two people in the room, in the world. It's not a sexual moment, in anyway. It's an intimate moment where your hearts start to beat together, you can hear each others' breaths, and that small physical gesture (something as simple as holding hands) is your greatest pleasure at that moment. You just look into each others' eyes, and let them do the talking. And, trust me, during those moments of stillness, your eyes can say it all.

Our moment of stillness lasted a very long time yesterday. It was finally interrupted by guard I like to call Richard Rimirez (He's my fave, in spite of the ugly nickname.). Our visit was over. Time to go. It took all I had not to cry like a baby. Maybe had I been watching the clock, like any other time, I wouldn't have been caught off guard. But, he interrupted our moment. And, that made me sad. So, I cried (but not like a baby. lol.).

Someone asked me the other day if this ever gets depressing. I told him no. But, thinking about yesterday, I had to revisit that question. I must say no again. I love this man. We have a connection that is unbreakable. Our bond has lasted for over 20 years. Do certain aspects of being in love with a prisoner make me sad or even frustrated sometimes? Of course. I'd be lying if I said no. But, is it depressing? Impossible.

This is the life I was given. I have to make the best of it. I actually like my life because I like who it made me out to be. Because, I like me. So, no, it's not depressing simply because I have been lucky enough to find a great best friend, who ended up being the love of my life. I have found my soulmate. He is my happiness.

Thanks for listening.
The Prisoner's Fiance

Don't forget to check out the update to my blog dedicated to being "The Prisoner's Daughter"!